Reflection of year 2016 and 2017

I began writing this post early last year (2016) to reflect back on year 2015, but was unable to complete. I hereby plan to reflect on both the years 2016 and 2017 in this blog by listing a few of my achievements and briefly explaining how I was able to achieve them. I will describe how I have managed to check off the goals in my bucket list which I posted almost two years ago on Nepali New Year. Why am I doing this? Well, because many of my friends, colleagues, and students have inquired about my “recipe of success” and also because reflection is one of the most important life skills that has helped me improve every day.

My first professional plan was to present original research at international conferences and continue professional development. In the past two years, I had the opportunity of presenting at eight conferences in six countries across five continents. To be able to do so, I received four bursaries/ scholarships to attend and present at four of these conferences, I was invited to speak at two (so did not need to pay the costs), and got registration waiver to attend two conferences but used personal funds to support travel and accommodation. These conferences included World Pain Conference in Yokohama, Japan, American Pain Society Conference in Austin, TX, USA, International Federation of Orthopedic Manipulative Physical Therapists (IFOMPT) Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, World Low Back Pain Congress in Singapore, and World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) and INPTRA Conference in Cape Town, South Africa. Likewise, it was a delight to share my learning from these international conferences (and my research) in two conferences in India, and Nepal Physiotherapy Association Conference in Nepal.

Second, I planned to start a PhD in pain in the year 2017, and now, I am closer to competing the first year of it under the supervision of the best possible supervisory team. During the first year of my PhD, I have completed writing four manuscripts out of which one is published, two accepted, and one submitted. This means quicker and efficient writing than before with just two rejections. At the same time, I am half way through a systematic review, and all set to conduct a feasibility clinical trial in Nepal in February this year. Overall my PhD experience has been productive, enriching and yet relaxing in this beautiful country.

Third, I wanted to explore nature’s wonders in my homeland Nepal and across the world. I also wished to find the world’s most beautiful woman and marry her. I partially succeed in traveling within and outside the country, but hit jackpot with my beautiful wife, the love for my lifetime. My life has never been more exciting and I have never felt happier. Coming back home to meet her was and is now my most awaited short-term goal every day.

People I know always tell me that I am lucky that I get to travel so much and that I am supported by world class researchers. I too feel really lucky and blessed to be able to travel, be surrounded by great people willing to support me at every step, and live my dreams. But, more than luck, I attribute my accomplishments to the choices that I made. None of what I have achieved in the past two years has been by chance. As cliché as it sounds, the “secret recipe” to success is to plan ahead, think smart and work hard. Plan out what you want in your career, choose your companions wisely, and connect with the right people. More importantly, it is important to show enough dedication and commitment to achieve these goals, and show some hard work to win trust of the high performing researchers. I had planned to start PhD just after three years of my completion of my Master degree in musculoskeletal physiotherapy. I worked super hard the first three years after my Master degree to fulfill the prerequisites for PhD, which included, research, publications, conference presentations, grants/ scholarships/ bursaries etc. All of these were my short-term goals, which were intentional, and not accidental. Have a look at the algorithm below for a visual feel of how smaller actions/ decisions lead to a bigger actions contributing to overall career goals.

By working super hard, I mean micromanagement of time; and not wasting a single minute of work hours. I plan my time in advance-this increases my efficiency. I gave up (or substantially reduced the duration of) other things that I enjoy (e.g., social media, watching or playing sports, hiking, and biking). I started becoming more updated on research world than being updated on what my neighbors had for dinner (over Facebook), or keeping updated with English Premier League, or Wimbledon, or 20-20 cricket. Replacing the time to use Facebook and Instagram by time to use twitter was a good move for me which I recommend to everyone.

Goals for the coming years
Share what I have learnt with others. Help those who need support in research or other stuff in which I am capable of helping. It is so important to give back what we get. Of all the things I have learnt in the past years, the most important lesson has been to be kind and open to help. I have so many people to be grateful to, and have been my heroes. I will pass it on. I plan to give back double the amount I take.